Healthcare Roundup –Trump says G-20 nations coordinating on Covid-19, TherapeuticsMD suspends guidance due to Covid-19
Trump says G-20 nations coordinating on Covid-19: Coronavirus briefing
Highlights from today’s coronavirus task force briefing:
President Trump the leaders of G-20 nations met virtually to discuss coordination of actions and agreed to share information in order to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Says “it was a very good meeting.”
Also held a call with governors of 50 states and U.S. territories and described it as a “terrific meeting.”
The House must pass the coronavirus rescue legislation “without delay,” he said.
The U.S. naval ship Comfort “will be heading to New York City on Saturday,” Trump said, adding, “it’s loaded up to the top” with medical supplies; it should arrive on Monday.
Update at 5:43 PM: “I hope we get lucky,” when it comes to testing potential drugs and vaccines to treat the novel coronavirus.
5:46 PM: With the increase in testing, “we’ll be able to deploy even more data-driven, targeted actions” to stop the spread of the disease, Trump said.
5:48 PM: On re-opening businesses, “Our people want to go back to work – I’m hearing it loud and clear.”
“We will have a lot more information early next week about” about getting back to work, Trump said.
5:50 PM: Asked about U.S. troops going to the border with Canada, Trump said, “I’ll have to find out about that.” He noted that the U.S. has deployments on the southern border. “I guess it’s equal justice to a certain extent,” he said referring to the deployment at the northern border.
He also said that there’s some illegal trade that comes over the Canada border, implying that there may be steel coming into the U.S. illegally.
5:52 PM: Trump said he’ll talk to China’s President Xi tonight.
5:55 PM: When asked about restaurants that are expected to close for good because of the pandemic, he said, “They’ll all come back; it may not be the same restaurant, it may not be the same ownership, but they’ll be back.”
5:57 PM: “We’ll work very hard to help the cruise lines,” he said, as the industry employs thousands of people on board the ships and supports employment onshore as well.
Related tickers: CCL, RCL, NCLH.
5:59 PM: Trump emphasizes that airlines are vital to the country. And to help the airlines, “maybe we will take a piece of the airlines for our country.”
Related tickers: UAL, AAL, DAL, LUV, JBLU
6:01 PM: Trump sees reaching another deal with China.
6:03 PM: He says he’ll be talking with Xi about the virus and whatever else Xi wants to talk about; the call will be at 9PM ET.
6:07 PM: Meanwhile, the U.S. now has 82,404 confirmed cases of Covid-19, more than Italy and China, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
6:09 PM: Vice President Mike Pence expects the House to take up the $2T relief bill tomorrow at about midday.
Pence said that Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT) submitted to FDA a request for approval of a coronavirus test that would produce test results in about 15 minutes at a doctor’s office.
6:10 PM: Testing is now available in all 50 states, Pence said.
Major disaster declarations now approved for New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
6:19 PM: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House task force coronavirus response coordinator, said 19 out of 50 states, ~40% of the country, had early Covid-19 cases but still have a persistently low number of cases.
~55% of all coronavirus cases and 55% of new cases are in the New York City/New Jersey area, Birx said.
6:21 PM: Says she’s concerned about quickly increasing cases in Wayne County, Michigan, and Cook County in Illinois.
6:22 PM: There are still 1,000-2,000 ventilators that aren’t being used yet, Birx said.
6:30 PM: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said that if pharmaceutical companies wait until clinical trials prove vaccines are effective and safe before they ramp up manufacturing, it will be too late for the next cycle when the virus hits.
He wants manufacturing to start before the Phase 2 trial begins; however, pharmaceuticals need to go through Phase 3 trials before they’re approved by the FDA.
6:36 PM: Asked about the potential need for a fourth phase of legislation to provide further relief, Pence said, “We’re already hearing from governors there’s a need for additional resources.”
Pence said he, the president and the Treasury secretary are open to that possibility.
6:38 PM: Briefing ends.
TherapeuticsMD suspends guidance due to Covid-19
TherapeuticsMD (NASDAQ:TXMD) announces cost-reduction initiatives amid the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also “suspended” its 2020 guidance.
Management says the cost-cutting moves will initially trim or defer more than $30M in annual spending, including the deferral of ~$10M of planned Q2 marketing spend for Annovera and Imvexxy.
Third-party services suspended or lower fees negotiated.
Delay/cancel IT projects.
Elimination of travel, entertainment, meeting and event expenses.
The company does not anticipate any product shortages at this time.
Preliminary Q1 revenues should be greater than $11M.
CVS warns on memberships, collections, costs, investments
The company expects an “adverse impact” on medical memberships and on the timing and collectability of payments from customers.
In addition, says CVS WFH is raising costs and hurting efficiency, and the turndown in rates and stocks is having a big negative impact on net investment income and the value of the company’s investment portfolio.
Shares are down 0.4% today, continuing to miss out on the major bounce of the past three days.
India clamps down on export of malaria drug for Covid-19
In a note, UBS reports that India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade has instituted a moratorium on the export of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug in high demand for the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients, although the fulfillment of orders placed before the ban will be allowed.
According to IQVIA, three Indian firms Zydus Cadila, Sun and Dr. Reddy’s (RDY) supply about half of the U.S. market.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA -0.6%), Mylan N.V. (MYL +3.7%), Novartis (NVS +1.4%), Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY +0.1%) and Amneal Pharmaceuticals (AMRX -3.4%) have publicly committed to supplying over 200M doses with plans to ramp production further.
FDA OKs Bristol-Myers Squibb’s ozanimod for types of multiple sclerosis
The FDA approves Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) oral Zeposia (ozanimod) 0.92 mg for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.
The company’s marketing application in Europe is currently under EMA review, with a decision expected next quarter.
BMY is up 1% premarket, while the contingent value right (CVR) (BMYRT) is up 20% (pays $9 to Celgene shareholders if ozanimod and liso-cel are approved in the U.S. by year-end and bb2121 by March 31, 2021).